Trapped in Free Market Korea: A Holiday in Rason (Part 2/2)

February 10th, 2011

****If you missed part one, please click here.****

Visiting the darkened half of the Korean peninsula is never a joyful experience. However, at its best, it has a frisson of excitement; a sense that you are a young pioneer – an explorer in an unknown land. For a second, it is easy to entertain

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About the Author

Nicholas Moran

Join the discussion

  • Barry Nolan

    Well worth waiting for!!

    Sounds like you had a harrowing trip. It’s a shame. I’d hope my trip to DPRK would be better organised-when I book it!

    I also feel for “Mr Park.” I can only imagine that, when it was found out about his collaberation in your escape, the retribution would be deadly. But there’s only so much of this crap you can put up with and he was your hero that day. Fair play to him.

    Excellently written primary source on North Korea.


  • Aidan Foster-Carter

    “It’s apparently where a sojourning Chinese official gambled away the entire budget of a town – a story I am assured is true but sounds like the sort of folk nonsense that is repeatedly trotted out when discussing the hermit state.”

    I have never heard that story doubted. This article names the gambler:

    A quick search throws up plenty of other references. See also eg

    There are different accounts of how long the casino stayed closed for, but it was certainly several years.

    Not all North Korea stories are tall stories. It is possible to check.

    A great article. Next time, go with Koryotours!

    Aidan FC

  • Lancelot

    I was pleased to check my email this morning and find out part-2 had arrived. Again, well done! (Both in writing, and in squeezing out of the DPRK).

    “I think we’ve had enough of shoes Mr. Park.”

    Priceless. No pun intended.

  • James C

    Great article, glad you made it out!